It looks like it’s shaping up to be an interesting week around the Fox lot. On the weekend, honcho Tom Rothman shocked most folks by announcing he was going to be out at by the end of year, and now one of the studio’s rising talents may be packing his bags as well. Rupert Wyatt is looking at the exit door from helming “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,” the sequel to his smash hit, Hollywood calling card “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.”
The move is a big surprise considering Wyatt had been forever attached to the followup to ROTPOTA, and is largely credited with making last summer’s surprise hit the success that it was. Things seemed to be moving along fairly well too with the studio locking up Andy Serkis in an expensive, multi-film deal and hiring “Contagion” scribe Scott Z. Burns to pen the script. But it appears that the original film’s writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver came into the mix at some point as well. So what happened?
Deadline says that Wyatt was feeling the pressure to deliver the movie in time for its planned release date of May 23, 2014 but it should be noted, the studio actually likes the latest draft of the Jaffa/Silver script that they’ve got. That leaves the movie just under two years away, and headed in a direction everyone seems to like, so we’d have to guess there’s more to this story. Could Wyatt have been upset about the proposed budget? Could this be a ploy for Wyatt to get a better pay day? All are possibilities, but again, this far out, a number of factors could be at play.
At any rate, it’s not like the director is lacking in options. He’s got a sci-fi thriller “Agent 13” set up over at Universal with Charlize Theron attached, while producer Graham King is waiting for Wyatt’s calendar to open to make the Alexander Litvinenko story “Londongrad” with him. But it should noted, nothing is official just yet with ‘Dawn,’ so we’ll have to wait to see how it all shakes out. But if Wyatt bails, who should step in?